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Lions won't look back ahead of this year's AFLW grand final

Brisbane player Jessica Wuetschner (right) celebrates her second goal with team mates during the round four AFLW match between the Brisbane Lions and the Fremantle Dockers at South Pine Sports Complex on February 24, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
18th March, 2018
2

Brisbane’s 2018 AFLW premiership tilt won’t be about making up for the disappointment of last year’s bitter grand final disappointment.

The Lions made their second grand final in two attempts when Adelaide, who triumphed over Brisbane last year, were upset by Collingwood on Sunday.

Craig Starcevich’s side will take on the Western Bulldogs in this year’s premiership decider at Ikon Park on Saturday and the Lions are looking forward, not back.

“The grand final (loss) was a motivating factor across the pre-season, definitely,” Starcevich told AAP.

“It drove the players through that period, but once you get rolling into the week-by-week (action) it’s not something that’s front-of-mind for anyone, really.

“It definitely motivated people during that pre-Christmas period, just to get the focus nice and sharp … how much it’s a factor now is probably up for debate, but I would say not a whole lot.”

The Lions were fifth on the ladder heading into the last round and as the last of five teams with a shot at making the grand final, they needed a fair bit to go right for them.

They did their part with a 10.4 (64) to 3.6 (24) win over Greater Western Sydney in Blacktown on Friday night, which gave them a vital percentage boost.

Then they needed a hand from the Bulldogs, who duly knocked out Melbourne in a two-point thriller – 5.3 (33) to 4.7 (31) – at Whitten Oval on Saturday night.

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Adelaide could have claimed the grand final spot opposite the Dogs with a win over a largely under-performing Collingwood on Sunday.

But the Pies stunned the reigning premiers 8.5 (53) to 4.8 (32) at Olympic Park to send the Lions through to the premiership decider.

“We’ve had a winning season, so I’m not sure that should get lost in the mix because it’s an incredibly tight competition,” Starcevich said.

“We obviously respect the Bulldogs greatly … they’ve had some great games this year and they’ve done it under adversity as well.

“(But) we’re in it so we’re 50-50 – we’ve had a very strong performance on Friday night and we’re very confident to play anyone.

“We’ll be in there when the whips are cracking on Saturday.”

The match will get underway at 1.05pm AEDT.